When I think about today’s youth I immediately think of social media. My high school students love social media and really enjoy using it to display their understanding. The difference in enthusiasm between asking a student to write a journal response from a character’s perspective vs. a set of tweets from that same character is immense. As long as social media (or any digital tool) is used in combination with intended outcomes, it can address the needs of students who may be struggling while challenging those students who may be more advanced (McCarthy, 2014). This, in turn, improves engagement for all learners.
Another concept that relates to this is from the TEDx Talks video in this week’s content regarding the idea of Transmedia. Providing multiple media options for students will definitely increase engagement. As long as the objectives are met, giving students the opportunity to choose the method through which they display these is empowering and convenient. Low income students are typically the ones with the least engagement, and providing options could help them increase their interest level with availability (TEDx Talks, 2015).
There are many digital tools that help to increase collaboration and engagement Google is one of the best collaboration tools that I have ever used. I also like using Prezi, since students can work on one Prezi together from multiple accounts. I would like to incorporate Zoom at some point. This is a video conferencing tool that enables students to connect with experts (McCarthy, 2014). Really, I believe any tool that is user-friendly has the potential to increase engagement. However, I have at times found the opposite effect in that digital tools that do not work for any reason frustrate students and cause them to shut down. Currently my 10th graders are working on research papers and our school has a program called Noodle Tools. It is an amazing tool, but for two days in a row either the server or the site was down and they struggled to complete the assignments. Moments like these always cause me to hesitate and have left a bad taste for many students.